What is a Region?
After finishing this lesson, students will be able to discriminate between examples and non-examples of regions.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Have your students gather together, and inform them that today they will be answering the question, What is a region?
- Explain that their introduction to regions will come in the form of a story.
- Read the following story aloud to the class. Your students should listen carefully as you read.
*Nine-year-old Karen was walking to school when she saw a poster hanging in a store window. When Karen stopped to read it, she noticed that it was for an essay contest. A local company was offering $100 for the best essay about a region of the United States. The contest was only open to children between the ages of 7 and 10, and Karen really wanted to enter. The problem was Karen was not sure what she wanted to write about. She thought houses, zoos, and the Midwest would all be interesting topics for her paper; however, the rules stated that her essay must be about a region.
- Explain to students that Karen knows she needs to follow the rules if she wants to win the contest, but she is not sure which of her potential topic ideas (if any) is a region.
- Ask students if they were Karen, which of the three topics described above would they choose to write about for the contest? Houses, zoos, or the Midwest? Why or why not?
- Inform your class that today, everyone will see if they can determine what a region is based on some examples and non-examples.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Write three sample sentences on the board that include references to a region. Some examples for sentences about regions include: In the Arctic, polar bears play on the freezing tundra amid the Arctic Lupine. In the Desert States, scorpions hide behind cactuses to avoid the hot, humid weather. In the Mountain States, Bighorn Sheep dodge Alpine plants as they climb higher and higher up the mountains into chiller weather.
- Write two more examples of sentences that do not reference a region on the board, such as: *My bedroom is a constant 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and it does not have any plants and animals. In outer space it is very cold, and there are no known plant or animal life.
- Based on those examples and non-examples, ask students to think about what a region is.
- Pass out pens or pencils and paper. Have students write their definitions of a region on a piece of paper.
- Have students work together to come up with a common group definition based on what each person has written.
- Guide students towards the idea that a region is a part of the earth characterized by distinctive climate, animal, and plant life.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (5 minutes)
- After deciding on a group definition, tell students that you are going to read several descriptions of different places.
- Ask students to tell you whether or not each is example of a region, based on the definition created by the class. Each student should back up their classification with an explanation.
- In the African savannah, lions and hyenas play in the tall grasses under the blazing sun. (This is a region.)
- In New England, people go apple picking as the leaves on the oak trees change color and fall. They often eat lobster in the summer. (This is a region.)
- In the zoo, many different animals live in cages. Many different types of plants can also be seen in the zoo. Zoos are located all around the world. (This is not a region.)
- Houses are located all over the world. Many people keep cats, dogs, and small plants in their houses. (This is not a region.)
- In the rainforest it is very rainy. Tropical plants grow and monkeys swing in the tree branches. (This is a region.)
In the Midwest, it snows a lot in the winter. Lots of corn is grown. Buffalo roam on the plains. (This is a region.)
- Once you've gone through the examples, remind the class of the story that you read during the introduction. Explain that Karen had three different ideas for her chosen essay topic. Ask your class which of her ideas should she write about, based on what they now know about regions? Once someone answers correctly, explain that Karen should write about the Midwest, since houses and zoos are not regions.
- Explain that you are going to pass out a list of ten different situations. Ask students to circle each example of a region and cross out the examples of places that aren't regions.
Independent Working Time (10 minutes)
- As students work on the Regions Worksheet, circulate around the room to answer questions, challenge students to rethink wrong answers, and maintain order.
- Playing soft music in the background can help to reduce side student conversations.
- Enrichment: For students who need a greater challenge, additional writing and/or research projects can be assigned about the regions of the world. These students can also be challenged to draw and write about a region they create themselves.
- Support: For students needing a little extra assistance, working with a partner can help to scaffold the lesson. It may also be helpful to provide students with a simple definition for "region" first before doing the initial examples/non-examples.
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Students can be assessed based on their participation and ability to provide examples and non-examples of regions during the class discussion.
- Students can also be assessed based on their Regions Worksheet answers.
- For an additional form of assessment, students can be required to write more examples/non-examples for homework.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Call students together.
- Go over the answers to the Regions Worksheet. (See Regions Worksheet Answer Guide)
- Ask students to give some more examples of regions.
- Finally, ask students to give some different examples of things that are not regions.